Enchanted April

Enchanted April

3.9 23
by Elizabeth Von Arnim

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A discrete advertisement in The Times, addressed to "those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine," is the prelude to a revelatory month for four very different women. High above a bay on the Italian Riviera stands the medieval castle San Salvatore. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mrs. Fisher, and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly…  See more details below


A discrete advertisement in The Times, addressed to "those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine," is the prelude to a revelatory month for four very different women. High above a bay on the Italian Riviera stands the medieval castle San Salvatore. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mrs. Fisher, and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly craving a respite. Lulled by the gentle spirit of the Mediterranean, they gradually shed their public skins, discovering a harmony each of them has longed for but none has ever known. First published in 1922, this captivating novel is imbued with the descriptive power and lighthearted irreverence for which Elizabeth von Arnim is renowned.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Four Englishwomen vacation together at an Italian castle in von Arnim's novel, a film version of which is now a popular art-house attraction. (Nov.)

Product Details

Standard Publications, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.76(d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth von Arnim Russell (1866-1941), born Mary Annette Beauchamp, was an Australian-born British novelist. By marriage she became Gräfin (Countess) von Arnim-Schlagenthin, and by a second marriage, Countess Russell. Although known in her early life as Mary, "after the publication of her first book, she was known to her readers, eventually to her friends, and finally even to her family as Elizabeth." and she is now invariably referred to as Elizabeth von Arnim. She also wrote under the pen name Alice Cholmondeley. In 1898 she started her literary career by publishing Elizabeth and Her German Garden, a semi-autobiographical novel about a rural idyll published anonymously and, as it turned out to be highly successful, reprinted 20 times within the first year. Von Arnim wrote another 20 books, which were all published "By the author of Elizabeth and Her German Garden". Enchanted April was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated feature film, directed by Mike Newell, in 1992, and a Tony Award-nominated stage play by Matthew Barber, in 2003. Her book Mr. Skeffington was made into a movie starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains in 1944.

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The Enchanted April 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
BrendaV More than 1 year ago
I'd seen the film years ago and loved it. The book was written in 1922 and the English prose is just brilliant. It really made me pay attention to how the sentences were constructed and all the details that were being said with few words. Why don't we speak and write like that anymore? The only downfall is that after reading the book, the film isn't as good as it used to be. The book is delightful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story that makes you realize that you can choose to change your life. You can choose love and happiness. It's enchanting and lovely.
khk-67 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about how four women come to share a medieval castle in Italy. Each of them experience the effects of a much needed escape from their every day lives to this magical place. Each character experiences the sudden stillness of the mind and works through their own issues to finally submit to the moment and place. I think this story is very relevant in our current time as everyone is going going going all the time. This book explores what it is like to all of sudden stop and come to live in the moment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An absolutely 'enchanting' story--truly gives one an appreciation for the beauty that is life. One of those books I want to read each year... so refreshing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovely story of four women who go from being strangers to friends during a shared vacation. The setting for the story is beautiful. Not for those who prefer explicit sex and vampires in their reading material.
UrsulaGraf More than 1 year ago
Just a wonderful book, one of my all-time favorites. The fact it was writen over 80 years ago, yet is still a timely and wonderful read, speaks well of it. A group of strangers, all with their eccentricities, come together in a vacation rental in Italy and the results are fun, cleverly-crafted and heartwarming. I also saw the film, but didn't think it compared to the book. I would say women would enjoy the book more than men, although it's not silly or "girly." Take this one with you on vacation, or just curl up in a big chair and enjoy--you'll be glad you did.
DesperatelySeekingReader More than 1 year ago
I'm shocked at the anonymous 1 star ratings. Look at the same book with different covers and most reviewers gave it raves. NPR gave it raves. Must be a campaign of vindictiveness, or they prefer the simplicity of Harlequin Romances. It is a wonderful, uplifting read and a great anticdote to a depressed and jaded mind.
Whymsy More than 1 year ago
A Story Seeped in Beauty and Truth “To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine. Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the Mediterranean to be Let Furnished for the month of April.” This simple advertisement changed the course of four women’s lives forever. Mrs. Wilkins spends her days in fear of her husband, unloved and unable to love she wishes to have some time to do exactly what she wants, without having to pretend to be virtuous. Mrs. Arbuthnot carefully fills her days with good works, trying to ignore the distance between her and her once beloved husband. Lady Caroline wants to only be left truly alone, with no one “grabbing at her”. Mrs. Fisher desires time to sit and savor her memories of better times and people. Together they chose to escape dreary London and rent the castle named San Salvatore; spending a month in “heaven” as Mrs. Wilkins comes to call it. Set against the beautiful Mediterranean scenery we see what each of the main characters are struggling with and how their chance holiday to San Salvatore allows them to change for the better. Each woman blossoms under the magic of flowers and sea and beauty and each other. By the end of this miraculous April they bare very little resemblance to their London selves. Von Arnim instantly pulls you in and introduces the characters in such a way as to let you get to know them very quickly. You see their lives and motivations, what haunts them and their deeper desires –especially with the help of Mrs. Wilkins insight. This book is about the inner life and not so much the outer show the characters put on. When I think of this book what comes to mind is the word beautiful. I’m not sure whether it is the writing or the imagery, but all you can think of is beauty. At the beginning of this book I found the rate of information given hard to digest, but as the story went on either the rate decreased or I might have gotten used to it. I’m not sure which. Either way it all worked out in the end and didn’t take away from my overall reading experience. This was a lovely book and well worth the effort. Sadly, I originally planned on giving it four stars until toward the end. The way the deception at the end of the book was handled really bothered me and frankly lost the book a star. I do, however, like this book well enough to try and search out others by Elizabeth von Arnim, who lived a very fascinating life in her own right.
MonsterHojo More than 1 year ago
This story begins in the dreary, gray backdrop of rainy England in March and moves to sunshine-filled, flower-drenched Italy in April. The story is one of transforming yourself and accepting the people around you for who they are. It is a wonderful book to cozy up to on a bleak winter's day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This text is so wonderful to read. The different story lines bring you into the magical place that the characters are staying in for the summer. The novel includes: symbols as well as friendship and love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Without tv radio computers e mail just snail mail and books. Could you think this would be restful? lost love in war old unfaithful husband and cold husband and all find love or renew love again and what could be nicer m.a.@sparta
jeno1013 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story for lifting your spirits.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
A classic that I had never read (don't be fooled, I haven't read that many!) I read this book in preparation to read the modern retelling (review to come tomorrow). As the description above explains, there are four women who are strangers all end up in a vacation home together. The storyline was great. These four women had such great personalities and throwing them in a home was sort of like watching the classic Real World before the drinking and the sex got out of hand! As most classics go, the language in this book was difficult and not an easy weekend read; I had to spend many hours slowly reading this one, so my hopes is that the modern retelling just reads easier. But the classic presented a great story and as I read was modern for the time for women to vacation without their husbands. I loved reading this book as a "progressive" book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those into old books she wrote elizabeth and her german garden non fiction
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Really enjoyed it.